Q: Can a previous employer tell someone why you were fired?
For example, my grandparents went into my boyfriends previous job and they told them he had stolen. He didn't want them to know his business considering he made a mistake.
A: Employers can and often do given negative references regarding past employees. Whether they should and whether they can be held liable for doing so are different questions. Many individuals who are harmed by a negative employer reference bring lawsuits against the former employer, alleging claims such as defamation, libel, and tortious interference with contract, among other things. Sometimes these are successful, depending on the facts. Often, but not always, truth is a defense. Sometimes a non-disclosure or non-disparagement agreement may exist, especially if the employer and the individual have negotiated a settlement. A breach of such an agreement can also be actionable. This is general advice, not intended to provide a definitive answer to your specific situation. For that you should consult a private attorney in your area.
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